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Microsoft Software

Is Windows Vista in Trouble? 879

Ken Erfourth writes "The Inquirer.net is running a story about what they consider two powerful indications that Vista is failing in the marketplace. One, Dell has reintroduced PCs running Windows XP on its website due to customer demand. Two, Microsoft is conducting a worldwide firesale on a bundle of Microsoft Office 2007/WindowsXP Starter Edition. According to Inquirer.net, at least, these are signs of serious problems selling Vista. Are we seeing the stumbling of the Microsoft Juggernaught with the slow adoption of Windows Vista?"
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Is Windows Vista in Trouble?

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  • Here's the problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @04:47PM (#18845109) Homepage
    The problem for MS this time around is that everyone was happy with XP. Ok, maybe not everybody was completely happy, but it's pretty stable, and does just about everything most people need it to do. People don't want to go back to having to run something that's buggy, or slows their system down. It's not like with windows 98, where we were still getting frequent BSODs. XP is a pretty good OS, and if people don't want to change, I don't blame them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2007 @04:49PM (#18845137)
    Odd.... I've been gaming on win2k since oh... 2001. Only recently have companies started locking us out, even though with a registry mod they work fine.
  • by HTMLSpinnr ( 531389 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @04:58PM (#18845335) Homepage
    I saw what seemed like plenty of copies of Windows Vista Ultimate Upgrade at my local closing CompUSA marked 30% off, which still made it about $181 + tax. Still too much considering the OEM copies can be had for less, and the real apparent benefits don't outweigh the bugs and incompatibility with my various hardware or software.

    Seemed kind of fitting that the "failing OS" was one of the few remaining items on the shelf within a failing computer store.
  • The skinny.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mockylock ( 1087585 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @04:59PM (#18845353) Homepage
    I've been running Vista for a long while, and retail version since release. It ran alright for a while, but lately has been pretty sluggish with only a gig of ram. I'm really wanting to switch back to 2003, but Media center and the 360 are just too valuable at the moment. (I know.. hook, line, sinker).

    Either way.. I can see why it's not going over so hot. Too many changes, too sluggish for most PCs and the differences in change aren't really THAT numerous for people to really want to change. It just wasn't ready for release.

    I know it runs well for a lot of people, and it did on mine as well.. though I disabled a lot of the memory hog features. I just can't afford to put more luit into ram, and after that... I hope my luck changes.
  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:00PM (#18845367) Homepage
    What I want to know is why it requires super duper computing abilities even with the "Turbo Hyper-Fighting Championship Edition graphics mode". It's not doing anything that's not being done on OSX or Linux (Compiz, Beryl). So why does Vista require so much power when Linux and OSX can do it on half the hardware?
  • by GlassHeart ( 579618 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:02PM (#18845409) Journal
    It's not just XP being good enough, but also most people's existing hardware being good enough. Used to be that hardware manufacturers would make extra money when people wanted to upgrade to hungry software, and Microsoft makes extra money when people upgraded computers for some other reason, but now when both are good enough, nobody feels the need to upgrade until it's actually broken.
  • by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:03PM (#18845433)
    looks like someone needs to read the article in my sig.. or better yet i'll give you the juicier portions:

    the primary objective of vista is to reproduce xp with a rediculously overcomplicated drm system (greater than anything in history, including systems designed to protect top secret classified government files).

    this drm system uses tremendous amounts of resources, specifically the os polls hardware once every 30 milliseconds while idling, and when rendering video polls the video stream every single frame. a screenshot linked from that article shows 20% cpu usage (on a modern machine) from the video DRM server.. which was not even playing drm content.

    this drm system also removes necessary fault tolerance from hardware because that voltage fluctuation from.. say.. humidity.. a power surge.. or a sudden impact(turbulence maybe) might be a hacking attempt.. so it has to shutdown the software(crash it intentionally)... detracting from stability.

    vista is not a great OS, it's an abomination, but microsoft will invariably use its insane superpower trouncing leverage to foist it on the public and bring an end to general purpose computing.
  • by Dobeln ( 853794 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:06PM (#18845473)
    Agree with some of your other points (I'm sticking with XP for the forseeable future...), but I have to ask about this one:

    "The emerging home entertainment market hates it. Let's not mince words: One of Vista's primary design goals is Digital Rights "Management," keeping these people from doing what they want to do. Why would buy software that takes functionality away!!?"

    Which functionality is taken away? IIRC, the only DRM in Vista is there to enable playback of DRM-enabled media. (I.e. HD-DVD/BluRay) It's not as if it infects all your AVI files with some vicious DRM scheme.
  • by danomac ( 1032160 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:07PM (#18845481)
    Most people in the market for a new PC aren't going to know the difference between XP and Vista. A lot of the older generation also think that a PC is a one-time buy. They aren't going to go shopping for a new computer every few years. One of the older folks I do some work for (finally) decided to replace his aging Duron 733 from 7 or so years ago. I still know quite a few older folks with PCs older than that.

    There isn't any reason for this share of the market to upgrade. Sure, they can advertise all they want; people still aren't going to buy it. It won't make a difference. My Mom wanted a new laptop and I told her to get it with XP as she uses some custom software... I didn't want to have to do compatibility testing on old software.

    Not everyone will just jump on a new OS. Those that have likely have been burned once and will wait it out a bit. Once the buggy drivers are fixed, and your average cheap PC (sub-$500) can run Vista at a reasonable speed (currently Vista is slow on these PCs), then likely there will be more of a shift toward Vista.

    Another big hit for Microsoft was the refusal of government and related agencies to use Vista. At some point they will allow it, but not anytime soon.

    In a few years Vista may be mainstream, but it won't get there anytime soon. I didn't allow XP where I worked until a year and a half ago. Windows 2000 suited us just fine.
  • by scsirob ( 246572 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:09PM (#18845513)
    When OEM's are providing customers an option to stay with XP, there no longer is an automatic 'Vista migration' anymore. The trick just went away. If Dell decides that they can't sell PC's with Vista but they can with XP, then Dell will continue to sell XP and customers will continue to get XP systems.

    What's amazing is that the beta community has been loudly warning Microsoft for the imminent failure for more than a year. That's unprecedented as well. All Microsoft beta's are near-adorations of the company. Vista is the first where I saw open revolt against some of the stuff being pulled. And guess what, they did not listen.
  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shotgunsaint ( 968677 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:13PM (#18845573)
    Actually, New Coke was put on the market as a distraction so they could switch the Coke Classic recipe from sugar to corn syrup. Go to a mexican grocery and get some Coke (they're not allowed to use corn syrup in Mexico). It's different.
  • by misleb ( 129952 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:15PM (#18845609)
    It is wierd how they don't stop pushing the propaganda even once you've already begun the install. Every install of Windows is like sitting through a Powerpoint presentation telling you how great Windows is. Like they are still trying to convince you... as if it wasn't something you'd notice otherwise. Brainwashing?

  • by bigtomrodney ( 993427 ) * on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:20PM (#18845679)

    In what sense was Windows 2k "an entirely new platform"? Don't get me wrong, I think it was a pretty good release, but it was just the next stage in NT not something "entirely new".
    Active Directory? Seriously that made it a whole new ballgame. Not to mention Plug N' Play, System Policies, Microsoft System Console,ACPI....
  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:23PM (#18845719) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft actually weaned me off when they started requiring "activation." So even XP isn't attractive to me — it has the same basic problem as Vista does. I run XP from time to time to verify web pages and test software, but it's in a network-free sandbox when I do. I run win98 the same way - no network - and no activation inside a sandbox (Parallels.) I don't use either one as my main OS, and I certainly have no intention of ever purchasing Vista, just to buy into the same set of risks all over again.

    What happens when an XP system needs re-installation and I can't get an activation for any reason? As far as I'm concerned, if I buy it, I expect to install it, perhaps put a registration code in that will work each and every time without ever having to contact the manufacturer, and that's it. I'll grant you that it seems unlikely today that Microsoft won't be there in a few years, but will they activate an XP installation? That's a policy decision, and there's just no telling what that policy will be. I'm not hitching my cart to their policy decisions.

    Whatever Vista offers, it isn't enough. I have plenty of functionality between linux and OSX, and I can run both concurrently, as is convenient. If either one ever fails, I'll just grab my install CDs and I'll be up and running in a reasonable amount of time. The rule of thumb here is (a) software on CD or DVD, and (b) registration codes, if any, sealed in the jewel case in a readable fashion.

    I remember trying to re-install a screen saver (some very pretty aquarium simulation) and finding out that it wouldn't install, claiming I was trying to install it on multiple machines (I wasn't.) I wrote the company several emails about it (they were still around) and they never replied, nor would the screen saver ever work again. I was annoyed, as you might expect. But if this had been the OS instead of just a $30 screen saver, I'd have been pissed at about the nuclear level. This is exactly the risk everyone faces with XP and Vista.

  • Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MeanderingMind ( 884641 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:31PM (#18845849) Homepage Journal
    I was raised on Macs, when I was 2 I remember my dad had an Apple 512k [apple-history.com] when I was very, very little. Ah, the good old days of B&W.

    Oooh, and then when they brought out the Apple IIx [apple-history.com]. The idea of having colors, that was exciting. I remember the first time my siblings and I booted that sucker up. We all went "WoW" at the pretty colors. It was amazing.

    I'd keep going, but my brain would fry from nostalgia.

    There were some Quadras in there, a Centris, a Performa, a straight up Powermac or two, and eventually some iMacs of various generations. I still have a mac, in fact there's never been a period of time since the 512k was handed down to me that I haven't been the proud owner of a Mac. There isn't a memory of mine that predates that 512k.

    But wait...

    What do Cmd-Shift 1 and 2 do?
    What's Clarus?
  • Just wondering: has someone reverse-engineered the WinXP activation protocol? You could imagine setting up a server that replies "yup, you're okay" to every request. The only thing you need to do it also have a DNS server that points *.microsoft.com to said server for activation time.

    The DNS part is easy, the reverse engineering probably very hard.

    Of course, there are versions of Windows XP Pro that do not require activation: the Corporate Editions....

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:51PM (#18846177)
    Agreed. And when we read articles here about MS stopping the OEM distribution of XP by the end of the year to force OEM Vista adoption, how does that *not* qualify as restraint of trade?

    Well, there is no way in hell it qualifies as anything illegal on the part of microsoft. No one should ever be compelled to continue to sell a product they no longer wish to.

    It does maybe finally raise the cause/issue of abandonware to the forefront.

    Copyright is designed to protect authors from competition so that they have the exclusive right to profit from their creation. The idea is that it benefits society to give authors the ability to exclusively profit from their creations for a "reasonable" period of time, as an incentive to create interesting new works.

    I'm all for preserving the rights of authors to profit from their work, should they choose to exercise that right. But if an author decides they are no longer interested in selling that work, I don't see any reason to prevent the work falling into the public domain. After all, if the author has 'abandoned' the work, why should the public be denied access to it?

    The average author can't and doesn't abuse this. If they release a book, it sells well, and they decide to release another book, great. Presumably people will find the new book interesting and buy it. And In general, except where there are annoying legal/contract conflicts, as long as there is adequate demand for a copy protected book the market will ensure it gets reprinted and sold. Rarely do authors write a book, and then refuse to reprint it regardless of demand, so historically its not really a problem.

    But Microsoft and software developers in general abuse that 'feature' of copyright. They release a program, and then down the road after it has been successful they release another one, while simultaneously dropping the first one. Now, normally, this works out ok, as people generally want the new version anyway... but sometimes they don't. They still want the old version. And the software companies refuse to sell it to create artificial demand for the new version.

    What rationale is there for allowing this. If microsoft doesn't want to sell/support XP, that's fine. But then copyright should pass into the public domain. If Microsoft doesn't want to exercise their right to profit from the software, that's fine, but that's no reason to keep it out of the public's hands.

    We as society GIVE Microsoft the exclusive right to profit from Windows XP to incent them to write Windows XP.

    We didn't give them that right just to be denied access to XP when they felt it would be even more profitable to herd us into buying Vista when what we want is XP.

    We GAVE them the right to profit from Windows. If they're response is to stop selling it despite high demand. Our response SHOULD BE to put Windows (and other abandoned titles) into the public domain. Of course, Microsoft, and any company for that matter faced with the prospect of having their IP seized and put into the public domain when they could still wring a profit out of it would of course respond by continuing to sell it until they could no longer wring any profit from it. And that is as it should be.

  • Re:Get real (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Deorus ( 811828 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @05:56PM (#18846265)
    > Gamers don't drive adoption of OS's. Normal people buying PC's out of the box from retailers do.

    You mean those people who are asking Dell to ship computers with XP and Linux instead?
  • Vista next patch (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grumpyman ( 849537 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:02PM (#18846309)
    Update for Windows Vista (Q34356245)

    This patch will solves Windows Vista compatibility issues. It will install Virtual PC 2007, along with a Windows XP images. It will also modify the registry to run the Virtual PC on start up as well.

  • by r_jensen11 ( 598210 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:03PM (#18846329)
    The only reason why Microsoft is pushing Vista is so they can talk about their ROI for that particular (albeit very large) investment. However, with each computer that comes with Windows XP, Microsoft is still making money. Sure, the investors will be pissed if Vista isn't being taken up as quickly as they were told, but it's not like Microsoft is going in the red any time soon.

    The only way Microsoft will be in serious trouble is if they start losing overall OEM sales to competition like Apple or the various Linux distributions. I suppose they would be in trouble if they don't expand any further either, but then again, that's why they're branching out of the desktop and servers and going into things like video games and digital cable boxes.

  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:27PM (#18846657) Journal
    Actually, I'm finding that XP works better than fine, it works great. It gives me a sense that there is some value to a mature operating system that's had bugs worked out and service packs and enough time for the rest of us to figure out how to make it do what we want.

    Vista on the other hand, is nothing but trouble. No significant improvement in performance (at least not for my media production apps) and the nightmare of DRM. The juice just isn't worth the squeeze.

    As I've said before, if Microsoft had released a bunch of incremental improvements to XP pro, and an updated UI, called it "XP 2007" or something, they'd have had a hit on their hands. But by fouling it up with a bunch of nonsense, then trying to put a gun to our heads with "DX10", they've made me mad enough to say "enough". There may be a day when I decide to use that license for Vista Home Premium that came with my latest computer, but it won't be until I can find instructions for disabling all the DRM and until all the various audio and video hardware and software have drivers or are patched to work with Vista. And not just work, but work better than they did under XP. Until then, I'll stay with XP Pro SP2.
  • by prockcore ( 543967 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:28PM (#18846671)

    With XP, there was a compelling reason for a lot of people to upgrade.

    Not really. In fact, nearly every time MS comes out with a new OS, the reaction is always the same.

    When XP came out, people flamed the "Fisher Price UI", were outraged over Activation, and generally told everyone they knew that they were going to stick with Win2k.

    Today, pretty much everyone is going on about how horrible Vista is, and telling everyone how they're going to stick with XP. The same OS they wouldn't be caught dead running 6 years ago.

    Last month we bought 2 desktops and a laptop.. they all came with Vista. It's the first time in nearly a decade that I'm running a valid copy of Windows, and we haven't had a single problem with it.
  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:31PM (#18846703)
    Well what does make sense, to me at least, is that Coca-Cola made with 'high fructose corn syrup' SUCKS.

    As I live in state right next to Mexico, Coca-Cola made with sugar is available everywhere. Granted its a bit more in price, but that doesn't really matter when the specific thing your buying is a matter of *TASTE*.

    For those who've never had it, TRY IT. Domestic(USA) Coca-cola SUCKS BIG TIME!!!

    Yes, I know my first line is a 'MATTER OF OPINION'. That doesn't mean I'm not right.

    /disgruntled at the corn lobby
    //I work for an N. Amer. Ag. Eco. group, so I know what I'm talking about
    ///why can't we loosen up on sugar imports??? corn can balance out by produ............. GOING TO STOP NOW!!!
  • by grapeape ( 137008 ) <mpope7.kc@rr@com> on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:31PM (#18846717) Homepage
    MS is suffering for the market they created, consumers who are satified with mediocre, resistant to change and generally lazy.

    MS for years has built a audience that was willing to accept good enough. With XP for many MS finally delivered "good enough", Its fairly stable, acceptably easy to use and has more features than the average user has any need for. Though there are some nice new features with Vista the important ones are not ones that are noticable to the novice. The only compelling selling point for Joe Average is the eye candy which was "good enough" in XP for most and is stripped out of the affordable versions of Vista anyway. The lack of bells and whistles on the low end versions of Vista coupled with mostly fud articles on backwards compatability plus the much publicized DRM issues scares off a large portion of their target audience. If home users arent upgrading you can bet that businesses are going to drag their heels as well. Sadly I dont see this as being something that will move people to Linux in the immediate future, it does buy Linux developers time to make more inroads towards usability, ease of install and buzz, all of which need improvement and can lead to increased market share.
  • What is failure? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ardent99 ( 1087547 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:33PM (#18846737)

    The question of whether Vista is a failure is moot because the usual meaning of failure doesn't apply in this case. Most Windows purchases in a few years will be Vista simply because it is the latest version of the OS and eventually, most people want to have the latest version. They may delay for an SP or two, but not forever. So in that sense, Vista cannot be a failure. The Dell issue is just a speed bump.

    The real measure is whether the dissatisfaction with Vista will increase the rate of switchers to another track, e.g. Mac or Linux. The only way to tell is to compare the rates of switching to and from Windows before and after the Vista dust has settled down.

    If the net switching rate away from the Windows to other OSes jumps significantly enough for MS to feel it in their pocket, then it could be considered a failure. I don't think we have those numbers yet.

  • by rainmayun ( 842754 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:47PM (#18846901)

    I think you have to consider what exactly we're going to do in this country if we start importing everything.

    Assuming you meant "sugar" where you said "everything", we could always export all our corn to Mexico [usda.gov].

    I am always amused by those who think that the U.S. has no natural comparative advantages in trade (a la Ricardo theory). We're still the most innovative economy on the planet. We'll find something else to do besides growing corn, if it comes to that.

  • by cshark ( 673578 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:59PM (#18847029)
    You're lucky.
    Windows Vista, or MeII as they dubbed it is a nightmare. It's the only OS I've ever wanted to throw out a window. To give you some perspective, I usually like new Microsoft operating systems. Indulge me in being a karma whore for a minute:

    "These two actions by Microsoft are proof of what I suggested three years ago. Microsoft has lost its ability to twist arms, and now it is going to die. It can't compete on level ground, so is left with backpedalling and discounts of almost 100 times."

    I like the inquirer. They're on of the better publications of their genre. Although both the Inquirer and the Register are always quick to point out the fact that Microsoft will die. And, while I agree that Microsoft will die at some point, I think that saying Microsoft will die when they hold the three dominant computing platforms in terms of known users is a little premature.

    I say "known users" because Microsoft controls the outlet. You would think that would be enough, but it's not.
    So, as a result they start intentionally confusing users, this edition, that edition, some other edition. They put DRM features that do nothing to pirates, but harm lagitimate users. Then, as if all this wearen't enough they dumb down the multi media and sell it as a "high definition OS." And here's the kicker... everyone else (think Adobe) follows suit. Seems to me that if Lemmings really did jump off cliffs, they would look a lot like Microsoft executives... or the MeII's of the software industry.
  • by FSWKU ( 551325 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @07:03PM (#18847091)

    I have 2 machines, a vista one and an XP one (plus an XP laptop). The Vista PC is newer, so i can't do an apples and apples comparison, but still, my impression is that Vista feels nicer, slicker, more responsive and faster than XP.

    So allow me to illustrate an apples to apples comparison. Friend of mine orders a new PC. It's "Vista Capable" so it comes with the damned system pre-installed. 3.4GHz CPU and 512MB RAM. The complaints of the sluggishness are near endless. I go over there to see what all I can do to speed it up. First thing I do is revert to the "Classic" interface. Now this seemingly benign task causes the system to chug for 20 seconds, pull up the UAC to ask "Do you want to allow this?", then after clicking yes, another 20 seconds to actually carry out the change. Still takes up to 2 seconds to open a context menu on the desktop.

    So I wipe the Vista install and throw XP on there. From format to working system in under 45 minutes. The XP system runs flawlessly, and is every bit as responsive as a new PC should be. Oh yes, that's also WITH all of the "Fischer-Price" crap visual styles running.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2007 @07:10PM (#18847145)
    We're not exactly best friends but he is a lot more level headed in private e-mail than he comes across in some of his articles. I'll say about the same thing here that I told him. I'm not happy with Vista because of product activation (See Windows XP) and because there doesn't seem any real plan on what to make out of it aside from being pretty, more DRM, and technologies to Embrace-Envelope-Extinguish things that are already out there, such as Adobe's Flash and PDF. Microsoft has historically taken a long time to release major products, and twisted and modded them until they started to work. They did this with the Original Windows which eventually became Windows 3.1, Windows 95 which became 98, and so on. XP has for all practical purposes been refined and reworked up to the present. Even Windows 2000, probably the best version they put out, was delayed.

    So I have no doubt Vista will eventually be the staple product; although it's so mucked up right now it may take a "Vista II" interim release to dispel some of the bad vibes. As for me I really only ever wanted a clean and fast 64 bit OS that worked with the newest hardware. That's it. I don't need or want someone's idea of a multi-media/gaming/come all "experience" that is really for tomorrow's hardware today. But then who is going to listen to me?
  • by 644bd346996 ( 1012333 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @07:11PM (#18847155)
    I'm pretty sure microsoft will have to keep their XP activation servers open for a long time. If they turn them off in even a decade, they will be wide open for some very nasty, very easy lawsuits. The windows licenses don't have an expiration date, so MS would have to demonstrate the the customer had violated the terms before they could stop activations without breaching contracts left and right.

    Microsoft's alternatives would include giving all remaining XP users a refund (not feasible, even for them) and setting up an automatic approval server or other mechanism that would allow XP to be activated without troubling them. Unfortunately, that would make piracy even more trivial, and XP will continue to be usable (if a bit insecure) for years to come.
  • by sortius_nod ( 1080919 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @07:11PM (#18847159) Homepage
    ASUS supply XP as an option, which I was happy about as I just bought an F3JP. It was actually even cheaper than the Vista models, plus I got to "upgrade" to Vista (so the copy I get can be used for testing).

    We don't even supply Vista where I work as we supply business machines to corporate clients - they refuse to use Vista due to the known issues with their internal software. It's actually a good thing because we supply systems to banks, and the last thing you want to hear is "sorry, I cant give you any cash because Vista has determined you and your account is incompatable with this bank".

    It looks like M$ really dropped the ball on this one, I can see two possible outcomes:

    1. Apple take majority market share, everyone starts smelling roses, you know, cliched stuff.
    2. Consumer flavours of Linux take off, everyone starts smelling roses, you know, cliched stuff.
    3. Microsoft fixes Vista, we all cry about how it's not fixed, M$ makes profit.
  • by Gordo_1 ( 256312 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @07:23PM (#18847313)
    Even if Vista turns out to be a big turd, Windows is so entrenched with businesses, hardware manufacturers and game developers that there's just no possible way Vista doesn't achieve nearly the same market share as WinXP enjoys today by virtue of the fact that it will be the path of least resistance for 90+% of the population. They'll fix most of the compatibility problems by the time SP1 ships, manufacturers will have updated most of their drivers and most of the whining will die down to a dull roar.

    I suspect that given today's other viable alternative desktop platforms (Apple, Linux within a few years, maybe even Google at some point), Microsoft will probably concede a few percent of its desktop market share over the next 5 years, but I wouldn't say they're in trouble... yet.
  • by dinther ( 738910 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @07:39PM (#18847471) Homepage
    I think it is a sign of the times. Technology has developed at a neck breaking pace and now reached a level of maturity while of course a large user base now has grown up with Windows 95 and up. Like everyone else I feel that XP does a pretty good job. Doesn't crash, I know how to work it and doesn't leave me wishing for more.

    I think Vista is a scary OS. I hear about DRM limitations but also so called "security" features that will break a lot of applications and generally make life for a software developer hell.

    Just Like Microsoft Office, Windows is finished and pretty much complete. In fact I have an old PC for my son that runs nothing else but a Firefox browser and a flash plugin. He can do everything on that that he needs to do so we basically don't care for Vista, glass interfaces (bah you could cut yourself) and so on.

    In the gaming arena the same trend is developing, suddenly people go out and buy a Nintendo WII instead of the much more advanced PS3 or XBox360. Why? Because the cheaper box does the job just fine. It is time Microsoft goes out and finds a new market to open up and they are miles behind Google.

    Soon I be buying a new PC for one of my projects but I will not accept Vista on it.
  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JebusIsLord ( 566856 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @07:50PM (#18847591)
    Canadian Coke is also corn syrup. The pop in central america isn't though, and its fucking fantastic!

    Interesting tidbit: high-fructose corn syrup suppresses Leptin secretion, so you don't feel full even after consuming 1000 calories from it. Compare how full you feel after drinking 3 beers, vs. 3 cokes. This crap is probably responsible for a lot of the obesity on this continent.
  • by dazk ( 665669 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @08:13PM (#18847827)
    It's not that easy. Microsoft would pull the Mac version of office in the blink of an eye once Apple announced OSX for the general PC population. That would annoy many Mac users and eventually probably force them to switch. There just is no alternative to Word on the Mac yet that allows you to not use Office as a professional user in the current market.

    While the Apple tools are nice for home users and even the smallest of businesses. And it currently lacks a spreadsheet application which is a major point. What else is there? OpenOffice would be a candidate but there the official version is X11. Not good enough. NeoOffice is a nice effort but not quite there yet.

    MS pulling the plug on MacOffice would be a major blow to apple. But what about hardware? Do you really think you can make money with operating systems? I don't think so. Currently Apple is in the nice position to have a controlled hardware base to support. Changing that will result in significantly increased trouble to get the operating system stable and supported on the millions of confiugrations out there. I'm not sure if the needed effort will ever pay up especially since OSX on your average PC will cause Apple to loose sales of their hardware. While it's not exactly true, apple hardware is seen as expensive. But it's not really expensive but it's higher end than many of the machines of the likes of Dell and HP. Many people would probalby stop buying Apple hardware to save some bucks because they want the experience Apple provides but don't really care that much about the looks of their hardware.

    So in the end I tend to not see apple actually winnig by opening OSX. The Apple ecosystem currently enjoys a healthy amount of software. While some of the Windows Titles are missing, you usually have adequate alternatives. Think Visio and Omni Graffle or Nero and Toast or Mind Manager and Novamind etc. Opening up OSX would significantly increase the installed base but would it really change the software landscape? What other advantages would there be? I can only see disadvantages for Apple.

    Of course if you are a PC user envyous of OSX I can understand your point :-)
  • Taking the long view (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ktakki ( 64573 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @09:42PM (#18848613) Homepage Journal

    See this is another misconception. As for basic computing the ONLY big requirement of Vista is 512mb of RAM to run as fast as XP. This is not a big leap, considering even OSX wants 512mb for adequate performance, and even Linux running KDE or GNOME will run better with at least 512mb of RAM.

    Something I've noticed, while administering desktop PCs for clients as well as my own XP laptop and desktops, is that the memory requirements of a Windows PC get larger over the life of the computer.

    One cause of this is installation of drivers and add-on applets for various peripherals and software packages. A printer adds a status applet that takes 4MB. An accounting package adds a process that checks for updates, taking another 2MB. Over the life of a PC, these things add up, until the commit charge starts to exceed the amount of physical RAM. That's when the system starts sucking mud, especially on startup.

    Another cause is Windows Update. Every patch increases the memory footprint of the OS, albeit in small increments. But over the 3-5 year lifespan of a computer, hundreds of updates are applied (yes, hundreds: my brand new HP workstation needed 68 updates to XP out of the box).

    So that 512MB nominal minimum for Vista will double in a couple or three years. I know this because XP workstations that were delivered to a client with 256MB three years ago (and ran fast and responsive out of the box) now take four to five minutes to settle down into a usable state after startup or reboot. I had the same situation with my 256MB Toshiba laptop, sluggish until I added a 512MB DIMM.

    Maybe it's because I remember the days when one could do useful things with a computer that had just 8 or 16 or 32MB of RAM, because the operating system wasn't taking up 50% to 66% of physical memory and paging things out to disk.

    I don't mean to single out XP or Vista. My OS X workstation and my Red Hat server are the same way, though they're both running services that my XP workstations aren't. When I was doing computer animation, I kept a Win98 box around just for the DOS version of Autodesk 3DStudio. When booted into DOS mode, the OS and 3DS took just 3.2MB of the 512MB available, leaving the rest free for textures and meshes.

    Imagine that, an OS and software taking less than 5% of the available RAM.

    That's why giving up 50% of memory to housekeeping functions seems like an anathema to me.

  • by Announcer ( 816755 ) on Monday April 23, 2007 @11:17PM (#18849431) Homepage
    I have at least a dozen WIN98SE boxes all running (home & work, combined), and most are on the Internet regularly. We're using FireFox and Thunderbird. FF has the AdBlock and NoScript utilities installed. (Worth their weight in gold-pressed latinum!) Annual sweeps with AdAware & SpyBot S&D show nothing more than a few "tracking cookies" once in a while. (In the IE days, those sweeps removed *dozens* of adbots, etc, every *month*!)

    98SE, behind a standard router, with FF, is "safe enough" to use online, constantly. For one thing, how many virus writers are still actively targetting 98SE? In the past year, I have seen several serious virus warnings, all of which concluded with these words: "Windows 9x is not affected by this attack." to which I just smile, smugly. ;)

    98SE is a snap to reinstall if/when the thing blows up beyond repair. Unfortunately, the WindowsUpdate site is becoming very buggy! Many times, it thinks I'm using a Mac! What's with THAT? Reload, reload, reload, ah, there it goes! That's the typical pattern. I suspect that someone at MS has been tinkering with the site deliberately, to annoy the crap out of die-hards like myself who insist on keeping *fully functional* systems running as long as possible.

    Vista? Yeah, that's the "New ME", alright. "Mistake Edition". They can keep it.
  • by FuzyBaffy ( 690672 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @01:03AM (#18850421)
    I got windows XP the month it came out even though I said I wasn't. In general even though I was running a great 2k box, all the little improvements blew me away and I had to move to XP after I checked it out.
    I got Vista for free from MS and after reading gaming reports on the fps loss and it making many games unlplayable I didn't want to touch Vista with a ten foot pole. I installed the vista buisness it on my dual core rig and was not happy with the slowness when moving the windows with all the eye candy. I have a decent geforce 6800, 1 gig of memory and that was noticably pokier than XP even with aero turned off.
    I got my sister a great el Cheapo laptop from the Fab HP (I make my own desktops but for non gaming laptops you can't beat HP). It had vista basic with 512 ram. After reading tons of reviews about being horrbly slow looking at the nice specs on the dual core cpu on a 499 laptop I couldn't resist. I figured that I can add ram for that price. Well after removing useless norton, and all the redundant HP software except the fast start media player that normally isn't loaded into memory and the button controls it is actually very speedy. After configuring everything to my liking I found at least the user directory structure a breath of fresh air. The user configuable favorite folders are an unexpectedly nice addition after I was playing around with vista for awhile. The power configuration options are really nice too.
    The prgrams HP that were bundled with the laptop were properly configured and dind't constanly ask me for admin rights unlike some programs I loaded on the laptop myself. So once everyone gets on board with vista we will probably have less of the security screens that are the most annoying feature of vista (I know you can turn it off but that would kinda defeat a main reason to go to vista)
    Vista will be ok once there are some decent video drivers for it. But if you don't game Vista isn't that bad right now once you fool around with it for awile, and disable the crap manufactures load on it. Even the basic verson isn't that bad at all. I really don't know what MS was thinking with the horrid FPS losses that vista brings though. Oh well they will pry XP from my cold dead hands. I am sure that Halo 2 will definitely be a vista system seller.
  • by mysticgoat ( 582871 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @01:23AM (#18850559) Homepage Journal

    You are all off-topic. Where the hell are the moderators?

    Go back to O.P. and read closely. You can't help but see that the progression from discussing Vista as a costly marketing failure has led naturally to discussing Coca Cola's failed introduction of "New Coke" (and the implied discussions about the moral prostitution of Bill Cosby in selling the stuff on prime time tv), which is presented as a very similar marketing failure. The case is made that in both instances the corporations purposefully set out to destroy their existing massive customer base by removing their best selling products and replacing them with products that the market quickly decided were inferior. An interesting extension that I had never heard before is that Coca Cola may have done this deliberately (screwing Bill Cosby both ways) as part of an ulterior campaign to introduce the New Classic Coke, which otherwise would have been rejected outright.

    "New Classic Coke" replaced sugar, the traditional nemesis of all Good Moms Throughout The Land, with the new and more horrific nemesis: high fructose corn syrup. Twice the sweet at half the cost, maybe fewer dental caries, but much more asthma and obesity, and all kinds of other health and ecology impacts that we'll discover over the 10 years or so. But the profit margins are so much better with HFCS, and then there's the high margin tag-along markets like asthma inhalers and diet foods.

    There were significant asides about the government subsidizing several aspects of HFCS production and managing to do so while projecting the image that it was subsidizing traditional farmers, not multibillion dollar chemical corporations that have bought or leased much of the USA corn belt. These were not directly relevant, it is true: there is no indication that Microsoft has been accepting government subsidies, or even hinting that they would like them. On the contrary, Microsoft would prefer to buy government policies.

    So the discerning reader is now prepared to question whether Vista is nothing more nor less than a strawman set up by Microsoft as part of a larger marketing campaign that will involve the announcement of "Classic Windows XP" later this year.

    Classic Windows XP will provide all the features that Windows XP provides, but with all the actual processing done on Microsoft's own servers, using its proprietary tunneling protocols, encryptions, and secret handshakes to move data back and forth between client machine and Redmond. Most computer systems built after 2005 will be capable of running Classic Windows XP, although the addition of a second 250 GB hard drive will be necessary in some cases. The footprint of Classic Windows XP on ram and hard disk will be no more than 20% greater than most of today's Windows XP installations, but there will be a major shift in internal resource allocation:

    • 30% for providing the very best possible superduper GUI unlike anything you have ever experienced
    • 50% for protecting resources provided by Microsoft and Preferred Vendors from being stolen or abused, and for other DRM
    • 40% for handling data exchanges between client machine and Redmond's Answer Fulfillment Suite
    • 10% for miscellaneous other stuff.

    Classic Windows XP will perform significantly more slowly than today's Windows XP since transferring all that data back and forth to Redmond over those tiny innerweb tubes will slow things down. However it will look pretty much like today's Windows XP, and people will have forgotten how fast today's operating system is by the time the "Classic" version becomes available.

    So, this summary should demonstrate to everyone that this thread has actually been on target all along.

  • by Lonewolf666 ( 259450 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @03:57AM (#18851603)

    This is an anti-piracy process. If you respect copyrights and have legitimately paid for your software, this shouldn't be a problem.

    It is not yet a problem. But what happens when Microsoft decides at some point that XP and Vista are obsolete and will no longer be supported, including activation?

    I guess that legitimate customers could sue Microsoft at this point and win in court. But some of us prefer not to give them the option of refusing activation in the first place. Like GP, I don't run XP on my private PC for that reason (let alone Vista, which appears to be worse in almost every regard). As long as Windows 2000 does the job, fine. After that, it will be Linux, even if I need to dump most games as a consequence.
  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geoskd ( 321194 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @04:11AM (#18851693)

    DirectX 10 is the only reason I bothered to get Vista. But it appears that games taking advantage of DX10 are at least a few months away, and games that *require* DX10 are likely not going to show up for a couple of years at least. So until DX10 becomes necessary for a mainstream game, I don't see much interest in a majority of home users for Vista.

    DX10 is not going to bring in customers the way MS had originally envisioned. Any halfway sane production house is not going to go all out to make their product DX10 only, unless it can be demonstrated that this will gain them more than it costs them. Since DX10 only games, would result in loosing pretty much the entire install base of existing gamers, the production house that opted for that, would in essence be committing suicide. The potential gain of going with DX10 is improved graphics? Batter quality sound? I may be out of touch with games these days, but it seems to me that the major improvements still to be made are in the physics engines and AI, neither of which falls under the pervue of DX_anything_. Now take the fact that You have a significantly higher overhead as a result of all that Damn DRM, and using DX10 could even be seen to cost enough to never be viable.

    That having been said, we will see a slow adoption of Vista as, people who don't know better, buy vista for their kids / parents / selves, and get used to it, but MS isn't going to be able to phase out XP as easily as they did all their past OS's. Its been said before and I'll say it again, the biggest cost of competition to MS isn't linux, or apple, or any other factor, its themselves. The biggest threat to their empire is the increasing longevity of computer hardware, and the slowing need for anything more than bug fixes and patches for nearly all users.


  • by petrus4 ( 213815 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @04:52AM (#18851891) Homepage Journal
    Windows 95 was damn near completely unusable before 95B; Winsock 2 and a raft of stability improvements made all the difference.

    You need to remember that Gates' philosophy has always been, "Ship it now, fix it later." Microsoft throw something broken and unfinished out the door in order to initially plant a flag in the market, and then they worry about actual usability in service packs later. That's always been their MO.

    Sure, Aero is completely redundant (like I said it would be) and won't be touched by anyone who cares about hardware efficiency. I'm guessing it will also continue to piss gamers off as well, since one thing Windows has never been good at is RAM flushing, and if Aero fills up your vram with textures, chances are it won't be entirely empty for when you then try and load a game, meaning performance problems.

    Once they bring out a few service packs though, Vista will predictably become something which the average person will probably find acceptable. If Microsoft alienate gamers with it however, that will be another nail in the company's coffin.
  • by joeler ( 45203 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @05:45AM (#18852165)
    Microsoft has a history of being able to encourage people to buy their products using their desktop domination as a leveraging tool, some may call the practice wrong but in this world it's the money that determines the rules.
  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gmack ( 197796 ) <gmackNO@SPAMinnerfire.net> on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @09:04AM (#18853611) Homepage Journal
    The fisher price look is ugly and I hate the new start menu format introduced by XP but that's all offset by how badly 2000 handles USB devices. XP-SP2 fixed a lot of other annoyances with XP.

    Vista, on the other hand, offers nothing new functionality wise.. It's just a new interface with DRM.

    There is just no "must have" feature on Vista.
  • Re:You got it wrong (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @09:22AM (#18853873)

    Having suffered for years with endless rants and moans about how lame XP is, suddenly people are beginning to show it love.

    Unfortunately for Microsoft, people are also beginning to show a bit more love to Apple and Linux boxes.

    I have noticed a distinct shift in recent months, with more friends asking me — as resident geek — about Apple stuff. I don't personally know much about Apple as a platform, so I direct them elsewhere for advice. I haven't yet worked out the catalyst for this, but I doubt it was Vista; the trend started earlier. Maybe the relatively high-profile "switch" campaign worked to some extent, or increased visibility because of iPods and the like played a role. In any case, Vista seems to be doing little to win back the hearts and minds Microsoft have been losing to Apple.

    It pretty much goes without saying that Vista with all its DRM is a big turn-off for geeks, and also that Linux has been improving steadily as a desktop platform. Again, I'm not sufficiently expert to know for sure, but I get the feeling that the traditional hang-ups about having to hack text files and poor hardware support are becoming less relevant as the major distros up their game. The time of "Linux on the desktop" may not quite have arrived yet, but with the traditional Windows dominance in the games market becoming less relevant when 80% of that market is based on consoles anyway, I doubt it will be many more years before Linux becomes a serious contender for the desktop space of home users.

    Anyway, if my experience is typical (obviously I can't be sure) then Microsoft are in for a rough ride over the next couple of years. I doubt this is because Vista is seen as a backward step by much of the user base, though of course it has some big problems that are starting to attract attention. But I think right now, it's simply that the alternatives are becoming better, and Vista isn't seen as a forward step either.

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus